Summary: Every day we choose either peace or war.
“Faith That Works: Raising a Good Harvest”
Wives and mothers – it’s an extremely hot and humid day. You’ve been shopping all day for the family. Half the stuff you couldn’t find or the price had gone up. But you’re pretty well set and have just one stop left. After driving around the huge parking lot for the third time you see a car leaving a spot. You drive up close and wait for the car to pull away – and as it does you see someone else zooming in from the other way. What will you do, think, and feel?
Men, it’s been a rough day at work. You’re hot, tired, tried, tested, and out of patience. All you want is a little peace and quiet. You’re glad to get home, take your shoes off, find a cool drink, put your feet up, and grab the remote. You’re all set for the next hour. But your wife has had it with the kids. She’s talked to no one over 5 years of age all day long and has a whole ton of information heaped up to spew out to you. And here she comes! What will you do, think, and feel?
Youth – you’re at the amusement park on the hottest day of the year. It’s late and you’re in line for one last trip on your favorite ride. You’ve stood in line for almost 2 hours. The line is moving again and you know you’re getting in this time. Then, at the last moment, two kids sneak in line and pass you by. As they approach the turnstile, you hear the park attendant say there’s room for just two more – them. What will you do, think, and feel?
Each of these situations deal with the everyday occurrence of choosing either peace or war. James makes the choice clear (3:17-18): “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap (raise) a harvest of righteousness.” The question is, why is it so difficult for us to make that choice?
James begins by making A POWERFUL ACCUSTATION. 4:1 – “What causes fights and quarrels among you?” James raises THE KEY ISSUE behind our difficulty in choosing. People know the devastation of fighting and quarreling. It cripples, kills, and destroys immeasurably. People are hurt and scarred; families are split and broken; humanness is forgotten. We cannot justify what takes place, yet it does. What is it that can cause a person who would normally stop to help the poor stranger to suddenly fight and wage war against someone else?
Knowing that most of us participate in quarreling and fighting at some point, James pointedly asks, WHY IS THERE THE FIGHTING AMONG US? WE are Christians who ought to, by Jesus command, love each other; so what about the daily rifts between us and others? Why do people – why do we – turn on others? It’s been a question since the days of Cain who killed his brother Abel. We cannot seem to identify and eradicate the root causes of conflict. We’re no better at it in our homes and families than the United Nations is between nations. What causes fighting? What leads to strife? Why is there so much quarreling and hostility? This is the issue.